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Photography as a creative outlet and means to explore

July 2021

Air Canada airplane passing over road traffic

I photograph just about anything, including airplanes as I'm also a bit of an aviation geek. This was taken near Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

Since 2015, photography has been a constant passion of mine. When I initially bought the camera, I intended to use it mostly during trips and occasions to capture memories. This changed however, as I soon began to realize the creative potential that could be achieved through the medium.

I started off taking photos on my walks around the neighbourhood, then worked through various locations in Toronto. My ability to choose and compose shots evolved with time, as I used to gravitate towards scenes that were readily laid out or were popular on social media, whereas now I’m more selective and look for unique angles, subframes, juxtapositions, lighting, and more.

Within Toronto, I’ve done photowalks at least 30 locations and their vicinities. The saying, it’s about the journey, holds true as some of the more interesting captures are of hidden gems along the way. My knowledge of the city’s ins and outs continues to grow thanks to photography because it gives purpose and motivation for the trips I may not have made otherwise.

Moon partly peeking from behind an apartment building

Harvest moon seen out my window

A man sitting on a bench with his bicycle and views of downtown Toronto

View of downtown Toronto from Riverdale Park

Cherry blossoms with a Japanese flag backdrop

Cherry blossoms against a backdrop of the Japanese flag

A night shot of an old movie theatre with its marquee lights

Eglinton Grand, an art-deco movie theatre, with its marquee lights on

I also bring my camera along on hikes and other scenic spots outside the city. I enjoy planning road trips with friends and seeking out prime locations (AllTrails is great) depending on what we’re hoping to see - fall colours, lakes, viewpoints, waterfalls, to name a few. I love nature photography as leading lines and depth aren’t so defined compared to cityscapes, which makes composing shots more challenging - and it’s just nice to get away from the concrete jungle once in a while.

A couple walking in the distance in a forest

A couple walking along a trail at Forks of the Credit Provincial Park

A frozen waterfall with large icicle formations

Large icicle formations at a waterfall in Hamilton, Ontario

A yellow leafed tree arching over rapids

Fall colours at Minden Whitewater Preserve

A band of stars forming part of the Milky Way galaxy

Part of the Milky Way galaxy as seen from Moore Falls, Ontario

Photography’s been great in facilitating social aspects as well. Going on photowalks with friends and occasionally with interest groups offers chances to converse and share stories relating to things we spot along the way - so if you’re looking to get to know someone better or impress them with your photography skills, take them on a photowalk!

An underpass featuring street art and a reflective ceiling

Street art at Underpass Park

A pedestrian walkway lit up with bulbs overhead and light strips on the ground

An alleyway lit up in the Yorkville neighbourhood

A man walking amongst lit up inflatable mushrooms

Lit up mushroom inflatables at LightFest Toronto

A worker pushing a heavy box on a dolly on a sidewalk lined with Asian stores

Sidewalk lined with vibrant stores in Chinatown, Toronto

Writing this piece gave me the opportunity to reflect on the positive impact photography has had across various aspects of my life. Apart from being an alternative means through which I could explore my creativity and de-stress, it’s more importantly a gateway to new places, people, knowledge, and perspectives.

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